Thursday, June 30, 2011

coffee with the girls

One morning while some of the guys were off doing testosterone driven things like setting up football goals I escorted some of the ladies around town to shop! Shopping with humid heat and bargaining for everything is certainly not as fun as I remember my days in Chicago but nonetheless it is what we have here and I embrace it. I took them around to ensure they would not get too hassled, get the correct prices for common items, and to take them to dukas in town we frequent because of their contribution to the local economy, empowering women, and giving Wazungu types that speak Kiswahili better prices than the average tourist. Annikah came along as she had reached her next goal in our reading program and was itching for several days to pick out her promised blingy shoes in the market. Her selection turned out to be quite an ordeal but everyone was very patient as she agonized between red and pink and straps or no straps (her final choice is seen below.....just enough bling & girly-girl for Miss A). We were tired after a few good hours of bartering and decided to hit my favorite coffee house in town. Nothing like a proper iced coffee on a sweltering day. Annikah enjoyed some local ice cream after; in an act of providence, a local guy with his cart rolled by just as we were sipping our lassies and coffees. Lucky girl! She also managed to convince various ladies to hand over their cameras to capture her artist whims. After downloading the pictures I actually think she may be an photographer in training. Pretty awesome shots, eh? (In the interest of full disclosure there were plenty of complete misses) But here are my favs of our girl's coffee date from Anni's perspective.....
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a football tourney

REAL football....or soccer as us 'Mericans types refer to it as is BIG here. We are sorta left out of this loop but the team from Chicago did their best to roll with the popular sport here. Along with our collegue Rich they planned an all day football tournament complete with 8 teams, free bright orange Pamoja shirts (brought by the team- awesome, right?), snacks, and prizes for the winning team. There was even a PA system which the MC used repeatedly to have a little too much fun announcing over and over again that the "Wazungu" team lost every match they played and "never managed to score one point." They all loved kicking the white guys butts:) And who can blame them? All is fair in football, I guess. Our family came to cheer and support everyone and swipe some free juice ....if we're being honest. It was a great day and still the talk of the neighborhood.
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the tired Wazungu..... leaving the field...embittered by defeat
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Lusi & Anni made quite the dancing cheerleaders!
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Wazungu team.....hey...1 of them does not really qualify!
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those are some dirty white boy legs!
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checking out the scores
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yep...lots of sweating
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"official" cheerleaders
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she has got the African squat down!
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dirt angels...there comes a point when a child can not get any dirtier....we embrace this state often here
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hoping her cuteness will result in free ice cream
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there was quite the crowd...including these guys watching from afar
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celebrating the final point!
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the winners celebrating their gifts! (2 goals, 3 balls, and a duffle bag)....Ah, sweet victory!
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the planning team and the winners celebrating!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

crazy relays, flour faces, loud songs, and story time

Some of the team visited some primary schools while they were here. They wanted to bless local students and teachers and who does not love some special visitors with crazy antics? We went to a school Pamoja had presented a teacher seminar to last year and the next day we headed to Annikah's school. We had prepared some games, stories, and songs but as always when we arrived the plan was changed requiring some flexibility. Like for example; instead of teaching groups of 30 kids we now had 160 all together. Yep, flexibility is definitely required here. The team did great though and we improvised and we are pretty sure the kids had a blast..us too....see.....
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who is that ridiculous Mzungu??
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Where's the Mzungu?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

reflections on the Wazungu wengi...

The invading hoard of 11 Wazungu has come and gone. And I already miss them dearly. They are on a plane as I type (all except 3 stragglers). To be honest it was just shy of 2 weeks of utter chaos. Hosting everyone meant lots of days of constant motion for our family. We are exhausted but so blessed. I already cried twice spontaneously out of nowhere. Their fellowship, their excitement, their willingness to serve, and their friendship was all just precious to us. When they came we did not know half the group but I know count them all as close friends. Being thrust into a crazy 2 weeks together will fast track your relationship for sure.


We had a debrief session and love fest sharing time of encouragement yesterday followed by lunch together. It was 2 hours of crying, sharing, praying, celebrating, and being together. Oh, how I needed that. They made such an impact in their short time here and I also sense there will be more to come. Before they left I shared with them a list I started one morning of all they did while they were here. I hastily scribbled the list on 3 torn and folded pieces of paper because it kept getting longer and longer the more I reflected. I think the biggest results from this time are internal, immeasurable to others, and allude a photograph but here is the list because it gives a glimpse of what a group of people who love God and love others can do in a short time....

*hosted 3 days of conversation hours at Pamoja and now have many of our neighbors saying "see you later alligator"eng convo hour

*recovered from jet lag and culture shock and never complained once

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*took a well earned boat trip and beach day at prison island
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*visited a computer teacher in training and met his grandfather

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*Stopped by a local maternity clinic on prayer walk

*Painted murals for a local primary school (Pic to come soon)

*Debated technology as the source of all evil with a local secondary school

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*Survived the all rice and carbs and oil everyday diet!

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*Planned a 3 day crazy kids camp for 30-50 kids (depending on the day) and did it with love and joy!

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*Rode the dala dala everyday and survived the sweat and the squash

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* Worshiped with a local body and were a bit confused by the sheer number of offerings

*embraced the sweat, dust, & dirt...and needed lots of laundry washed!

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*Planned and ran a football tournament that is still the talk of the neighborhood

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*Helped repair cars alongside Pamoja students and learned from them

*completed a Scavenger Hunt in Stonetown—in which cheese & coffee proved to be quite a challenge!

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*Praised Him together in word and deed

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*Prayer walked and asked God to bless the people here

*Fixed computers at the ministry of health

*Visited, read stories, and taught at a local school exhibiting much flexibility when plans were suddenly changed

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*sang your hearts out at local school and kept many students laughing

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*Visited a local school for the deaf and learned some local sign language

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*Bargained for shoes, spices, and fabric in the local market...sometimes getting white price :) but getting their barter on!

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*Planned and executed a 3 day business seminar that blessed local entrepreneurs with excellence

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*Visited our friend and local tour guide company owner and learned how to cook local bread....so what if some fell in the fire...

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*Visited our neighbors and friends and learned how to make many local dishes including kachori

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*Were brave enough to embark on an all day local fishing expedition with some neighbors

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*Drank warm soda and sugar biscuits with the student government and headmaster of a local secondary school

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*Served us and our families: washed dishes, gave massages, changed blow out diapers, braided hair, and painted little girl toes....so appreciated!

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*Sang songs, taught, and learned greetings with the watoto wa shule

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*Learned to appreciate internet speed, variety, and all things Chicago more

*Prepared and tirelessly cut out hearts, filled water balloons, and evenly distributed food into “parcels”

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*Ate at Forodhani and even tried "50-50 juice" (we call the sugar cane juice 50-50 juice because that is about the percentage you have of getting some unpleasant bathroom issues after drinking it...but I would say it is worth it!)

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*Played musical chairs with deaf children

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*Responded to an urgent need and went to the hospital to pray for healing

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*Brought listening ears, encouragement, perspective, prayer for our team

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*learned to take opportunities to just be with people: small talk with a machine wielding guard at the bank and learned you can talk to anyone

*brought and received many gifts

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*Learned to live more "Inshallah"...take life as it comes...

*Got traditional henna done by a beautiful and "heavy" Pamoja student (the way she refers to herself after taking my class ..instead of using the word "fat")

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*Taught and helped our team develop healthy community goals and strategies & cared for our kids with love so we could all attend!

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*Worshipped our Creator and Savior in the dark (no power one night) in 2 languages but with the same heart

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*stepped out of their comfort zone and learned there is much to learn there

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*Were flexible, loving, tireless servants of Jesus. Brought blessing and received blessing. Thanks to everyone on the team and to everyone who made it possible for them to come! It was awesome. God is good. We miss you already. And as all good Waswahili say .... Karibuni tena...